BY HENRY MHARA
IT never rains, but pours for Cosafa president Phillip Chiyangwa with fresh details emerging showing that the ex-Zifa boss could have misappropriated a donation of soccer balls from La Liga for his own personal use.
Zifa in 2018 signed a partnership agreement with La Liga in Africa where the two agreed to work together for football development in Zimbabwe. The deal was, among other things, expected to open avenues for local footballers to ply their trade in the Spanish top-flight league.
In return, La Liga would get publicity through Zifa. The agreement, which was signed by Chiyangwa and Head of La Liga in Africa, Antonio Barradas, saw Zifa receiving a first consignment of over 1 000 soccer balls to kick-start a grassroots soccer development project in the country.
Documents in the possession of the Standardsport show that La Liga donated a total of 1 080 soccer balls, with a goods received voucher by Zifa, dated May 7, 2018, confirming receipt of the order.
However, it has since emerged that the donation did not reach its intended target, and Zifa are now accusing their former boss of allegedly converting the soccer balls to his personal use.
Sources told this publication that Chiyangwa allegedly used the soccer balls to campaign ahead of the July 2018 general elections where he was vying for the Member of Parliament position for Zvimba South.
The sources said he hosted a number of tournaments in the constituency in the build-up to the elections with the winners rewarded with soccer equipment. He went on to win the seat in the National Assembly.
Zifa on September 2 last year wrote to Chiyangwa seeking an explanation on how the balls were used. He ignored the letter.
“Football equipment donated by La Liga to the FA did not reach intended beneficiaries but was allegedly donated by yourself to people who are close to you and with nothing to do with the association, or youth football. The balls were collected by current Zifa president and acting VP from South Africa and Zifa paid duty and transportation for them and these were allegedly converted by you to undeserving beneficiaries. Kindly provide a distribution list of who you gave the said equipment, on which date and acknowledgement of such by the beneficiaries,” part of the letter which was written by Zifa general secretary Joseph Mamutse read.
After drawing a blank from Chiyangwa, the Zifa board in November resolved to report Chiyangwa to the police over the matter.
A police report was made to the Commercial Crimes Unit on November 20, and the case’s DR number is 40/11/19.
This is not the first time that Chiyangwa has been accused of converting Zifa donations for personal use.
Zifa are also alleging that the flamboyant businessman converted two twin-cab vehicles donated to the association by Wicknell Chivayo, for personal use.
The vehicles were part of the US$1 million donation to Zifa by Chivayo, but were both registered in Chiyangwa’s companies who took them with him when he lost the elections.
Zifa are battling to reclaim the vehicles, and have also reported the matter to the police.
The cases are among numerous others that have been reported against Chiyangwa who is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the association through fraud and corruption, including withdrawing US$30 000 from a Zifa nostro account, months after he had ceased to be an official.
He also allegedly ordered the broke association to meet the costs of his lavish birthday party in 2017 – which was attended by Fifa president Gianni Infantino – whose bill was in excess of US$100 000.
The documents also show that he leased the Zifa Village to one of his companies, Hansporte Investments, to keep creditors at bay, an agreement which he allegedly later used to loot funds from the association.
Chiyangwa is refuting the allegations.